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Tanya Khoury: Lost in the woods
June 08, 2012
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Rupert Sanders’s directorial debut comes in the form of a dark, twisted adaptation of the well-loved fairytale Snow White. Starring Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth to name a few, the film has lots of surprises throughout as the cast grew to the likes of Bob Hoskins and Eddie Marsan. Set in Buckinghamshire, England this was definitely one massive film to direct and with the award-winning Greig Fraser the cinematography was surely going to be delicious. It seems to be the theme to dissect all our childhood fairytales and take us through what the original writers may or may have not envisioned within their deepest and darkest thoughts.

Theron plays the evil queen and I would like say that she did quite a decent job. I like her as an actor and think that she truly gets into her characters very intensely. I expected her to kill the part, and to be fair to her she pretty much did, in her portrayal of the evil queen albeit  some of her ‘evil’ scenes felt a little too overdone to my liking but most of them hit the mark on the evil scale. She looked like she was enjoying it much more than expected, to be honest.

Stewart, on the other hand, is one of those actors who just have not grown on me. I have seen her in other films (besides the Twilight saga) and I feel that she has to mature more as an actor. All her scenes fell flat as the delivery was almost that of a whisper and she could not capture the character as I had seen it in my head. I was not convinced; it felt too mild of a character to be leading the story from beginning to end. I will lay off the acting abilities and focus more on the actual film.

Loosely based on the original story, Sanders taps into the grandeur of the era, the battles and the conquests, the good versus evil with a lot of symbolism along the way. The huntsman’s role is magnified and the queen’s brother is brought to life as her accomplice. All in all, it is most definitely picturesque in the way that it is portrayed. My problem is with the way the story was dissected as I felt there was a lack of emphasis in the story of Snow White herself in how she became all magnificent and led an army against the queen. It was definitely scattered in the plot, as we go back and forth between the queen and her evil ways. The film drags on (which is the case with every single film that is being released) to a little over two hours. In this kind of plot a lot of edits were left to be desired. There are two love interests that seem sourly placed in the subplots as well, although the characters had room to be interesting it just did not work in favour of the story as a package.

As I had mentioned, there are a lot of visual treats, colours and backdrops, and shots that are stunning so for that alone the cinematography works its wonders. It fell short from the angle of the story-telling and the weakness of some of the characters. It is, however, a film to be seen in the theatre, as it is too much of a waste seeing this at home – the sounds along with the imagery should be felt in a cinematic experience. I just no longer feel that these ‘dark’ tales have all the mileage they are cracked up to be, getting a 5.6/10 on my scale.
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